Camping can be a low cost way to spend recreational time but it can also be very expensive depending on how you camp. If you need to haul an expensive 5th wheel behind your 3/4 ton pick-up truck that gets 8 miles per gallon then your camping trips can be very expensive. If you choose to use a car or higher gas mileage pick-up truck and camp in a tent at a free campsite then you can stay camping longer and save money.
KOA Campgrounds and other Paid Campgrounds
I called the KOA campground in Jerome Idaho for a quote last week. It was raining extremely hard. I asked for a quote for one person with a tent and no electricity at the site needed. The nice man quoted me $27.50. I balked at the price and thanked him. He sensed my aghast at the price quote and reminded me that the rate also includes free use of the showers.
For $27.50 per night I can stay in a cheap motel. For $27.50 I can take a shower using a gallon of water and not have to spend $27.50 for a site to set up my tent. For $27.50 I can pay a random person to camp in his or her yard for a few days.
Paid camping sites are great for some people but not for me. $27.50 for a simple tent site for one night is extremely high, especially with all of the free camping options nearby. If you camp by tent then paying for campsite such as the KOA can be extremely expensive.
There are some great campsites that you must pay for such as up at in the Redfish Lake area in Idaho. You are looking at about $15.00 per night. The money is poured back into the area and not the [pocketbooks of the campground owners such as with the KOA.
I am not knocking the KOA campgrounds and I feel they provide a great product for many people. The KOA campgrounds for me though are simply way overpriced.
Camping in a tent is much cheaper than camping in a trailer, 5th wheel, or motor home. With a recreational camper you have the monthly payments along with decreased fuel mileage along with extra upkeep costs. When camping in a tent you have much more freedom in where you can camp as well as being able to camp in many free sites that are not accessible to 5th wheels and travel trailers.
Kids are usually just as happy eating hot dogs as they are steak. Save the steak for the adults and let your kids roast their own hotdogs over the camp fire. Hot dogs are much cheaper than steak. Buy generic brand soda pop for the kids instead of name brand soda pop.
Look at ways you can cut costs when camping. Camping does not have to be an expensive expedition. Sometimes the simplest camping trips will be rewarded richly with the best and longest lasting memories of those involved on the campout. Image Credit: (Flickr/orangecountyparks)